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Probiotics for Pancreatitis

By Esther Kinuthia RN BSN BA

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Patients at high risk of pancreatitis are advised to take probiotic supplements containing five to 10 colony forming units of beneficial bacteria a day in order to maintain proper gastrointestinal and immune system health, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Probiotics are live bacteria that are similar to the beneficial bacteria found in the human gut. Probiotics are mainly available in dairy foods and dietary supplements.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Lactobacillus acidophilus also known as acidophilus is the most common probiotic bacteria found in dairy products and dietary supplements, according to the Environmental Illness Resource. Eating foods containing lactobacillus acidophilus may help improve the symptoms of pancreatitis. Lactobacillus acidophilus is found in yogurt, fermented milk, buttermilk, acidophiulus milk, tempeh, miso and soy beverages. Patients allergic to dairy products may purchase acidophilus capsules from the health stores.

Lactobacillus Bulgaricus

Lactobacillius bulgaricus is a probiotic that produces natural antibiotic substances that kill pathogenic bacteria in the body while sparing other beneficial bacteria, according to the Environmental Illness Resource. Lactobacillus bulgaricus may be beneficial in helping prevent pancreatitis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Bifidobacterium bifidus

Bifidobacterium bifidus is one of the major beneficial bacteria found in the human gut and is readily available in probiotic dietary products, according to the Enviromental Illness Resource. Bifidobacterium may help improve and prevent symptoms of pancreatitis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bifidobacterium works by reducing inflammatory processes in the body and also stimulating the body’s immune system.

Warning

Patients should be aware that there limited evidence supporting the use of some probiotics, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Patients with pancreatitis should always seek medical attention and should avoid self treatments with probiotics without doctor’s permission. Some probiotics can cause serious bacteria infections especially when used in patients with lowered immune systems.

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